Today is the first day of school. I’m sure many of you had to write the usual essay on what you did on your summer vacation.

For me, summer is a time of renewal. I always try to learn something new on my summer break when I am free from my rigid teaching schedule.

This summer I taught rudiments and music history in a compressed format to prepare some students for the August exam session. It made for a heavy homework load for the students and me! But it was enjoyable to be immersed in the subjects.

There are many parallels between elite music performance and elite sports performance. We musicians benefit from what the sports psychologists know. I read a great book called Power Performance for Singers. While definitely geared towards vocalists, it contained many concepts that will be useful for piano students.

I was behind on some of my own piano repertoire, so I practiced and had a checkup lesson mid-summer. In between I squeezed in some voice lessons. I regularly accompany vocalists, and my students and I often sing at piano lessons for ear training and melody shaping. I have a new perspective on the instrument of the human voice.

Teaching starts again next week, and I’m almost ready to go! I’m still reaping the benefits from last summer’s project, and I’m already thinking of what I’d like to work on next summer… Oh, and I did take some time off from all things music and visited my family in B.C.